Celebrate the Human Body

Sometimes you start to think that having confidence in yourself is easier than having confidence in the world around you.  I live in a part of the UK that has relatively mild weather, but in the past two weeks my journey to work has been disrupted by snow, ice, flooding and thick fog.  Much has been made of school closures and millions being unable (or unwilling)  to get to work.  The article I was reading at the weekend suggests things are only going to get worse in years to come…

I’ve also had a frustrating two weeks with machinery, my main computer developing a fault that reappeared after being repaired and eventually needed being reset to factory settings – which now means finding discs to reinstall software. Meanwhile my old spare machine gave up the ghost just after the last post, confidence is crucial.

My car has also developed an intermittent fault – it occasionally refuses to start – that my mechanic friend couldn’t diagnose.  Yesterday it stalled and wouldn’t restart for about 15 minutes – on a dual carriageway.  Consequently I now expect it to be unreliable – my confidence in it getting me from A to B when I want to has vanished.

All these examples aren’t here to elicit sympathy (although I’m more than happy to receive it) but to reflect on how our confidence in the world around us is based on things being predictable. I’ve lost confidence in my car, confidence in my computer and confidence in the weather – because they don’t do what they should do when they should.

Our bodies perform countless tasks each day without fail – we breath, blood is pumped around, food is digested.  Most of these tasks are performed without  consciously giving. For the vast majority of us our legs propel us and eyes let us see. Our hands perform all kinds of intricate tasks – such as writing. Its only when something interrupts that smooth operation that we lose confidence. After my mother broke her hip she initially lost confidence walking outside the house, particularly on anything but an even surface.

A professional sports-person such as a golf player will perform a simple task like putting a short putt in a set way with total confidence of completion. But once they miss, doubt creeps in and they question that ability, and lose confidence.

A lack of confidence comes through focussing on what might go wrong, what may prevent us from achieving our task.  Normally I don’t think twice about how my car or computer will perform, or whether the weather conditions will allow me a safe journey to work. But whether it is a machine or ourselves, how we deal with problems and things going wrong affects our confidence.

Try thinking about how you walk. Think of the different muscles within your legs, how they work together to lift and move your foot and place it in front of the other foot – which is already preparing to move forward again itself.  Try giving the commands that usually originate in your brain without you being conscious of it. Don’t fall over!

Compared with most machines, our bodies are designed to last for decades. They have evolved over the centuries to be superb bits of kit, controlled by a massive computer called the brain.  We badly abuse our bodies with poisons like alcohol and jeopardise its functioning by not fuelling it properly or keeping it well maintained.

We have huge capabilities and huge abilities. So why don’t we focus on what we can do, rather than worry about what might go wrong?  Why do we allow the odd mistake or error to cloud our thinking, become the focus of our internal dialogue, or self talk?

There are things I cannot do that never worry me at all.  I cannot speak a word of Spanish – mainly because I have never tried to learn. Yet I have the capacity to speak that language if I chose to apply myself to the task. Likewise I have the same number of muscles in my body as Arnold Schwarzenegger, but chose to let them “hang lose”, rather than go through years of body building to have an amazing physique.

We have evolved over billions of years into complex beings.  Today is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, the first person to recognise that all life on earth has adapted and developed to meet the demands of its environment.

Lets celebrate what we can do, not what we cannot. When we want to do new things, to stretch our comfort zone, lets do it by building on existing skills and knowledge and accept that mistakes and errors happen along the way. And even when we can do something well, we won’t be perfect every-time.  But don’t let a mistake undermine your confidence, don’t dwell. I’m sure Barack Obama isn’t worrying about fluffing his lines at his inauguration!

Yes, But Still... February 13, 2009 at 1:13 am

This post made me think of how our minds can automate processes that take initial effort to learn.

I’m certainly grateful for this–apparently effortless–ability!

Yes, But Still…s last blog post..Ask yourself: What would Carl Rogers do? (part 2)

Maricor Coquia February 13, 2009 at 2:15 am

This is a very powerful post, and a sure reminder that our attitude towards the world affects how we perceive, accept, and live in it. As a college student, low self-esteem has always been a problem for me trying to meet high expectations I’ve set for myself and supposed “outside” pressures from family, friends, and professors. For a good amount of time, I let these “pressures” dominate my life, and I was miserable. I always thought I wasn’t good enough. Now that I believe I deserve success, however, I feel much more apt to accomplish and reach my goals.
Thank you again for such a great post!

Maricor Coquias last blog post..I’m changing, and I like it.

Birney Summers February 14, 2009 at 10:10 pm

As I get older each year adds to the list of things that I can no longer do. I go nuts if I didn’t focus on the things that I still can do. I can still turn the television off and read some thing use full an interesting on the internet. Like this post. Thanks

David February 15, 2009 at 11:10 am

Thank you all for your positive comments. It is so easy to get wrapped up in what we cannot do, rather than what we can. David

Mercola February 18, 2009 at 8:15 am

Hi.. Nice posted article you’ve wrote. Anyway, i do agree with your opinion that “Lets celebrate what we can do, not what we cannot”, don’t afraid to have mistake instead make that as your way and beginning to correct the mistake and learn from that mistake.

Pacita February 19, 2009 at 5:27 am

Very inspiring. I agree with you that we should step out of our comfort zone and let ourselves learn new skills even if it means we will make mistakes along the way. Eventually, we will master these skills and we will be ready to expand our comfort zone.

Pacitas last blog post..How to Choose Your Bridesmaids’ Gown

POP display February 20, 2009 at 4:57 pm

The only way to learn is to try something different. Inspiring post. Regards!

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